General purchase advice: Ask your questions/for advice here!

This looks like a great option, there’s a few used ones on Ebay, and even if I don’t end up using it for the headphone, it should make my JBL Stage 130 bookshelves sound much better than the old Yamaha AV Receiver I currently have.

you really can’t get better dollar to performacne ration than the vintage adcom stuff. It’s kind of silly good.


I currently have the AKG K7XX, Hifiman HE 4XX and Grado SR125x phones.
My current setup is PC (Amazon HD)> SMSL M300 MKII DAC (balanced output) > Loxjie 20 amp (upgaded tubes and balanced output).

What I am interested in are open back and balanced headphones with excellent soundstage and imaging. Deep base is not a requirement. I am more interested in vocal, mid-range and treble clarity. It would be nice if they were light weight and comfortable. My budget is around $500 (US).

I enjoy acoustic music, jazz and pop/folk vocalist, mostly from the 70s. I plan to use the phones at home and would like to perceive music as being more dimensional with distinct imaging.
Thanks for advice.

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I’d look for a used or open box ananda.


I would also look at the Sundara, for $350, they are excellent and hit all your points. The sound stage is not the largest though, but it’s not small either.

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I see a Sennheiser HD600 in your future.

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I own an AKG K7XX, HE400i (first gen) and Grado SR60, SR225e, RS2e plus a few using drivers from Elleven Acoustica, Nhoord, Symphones and Turbulent. I’d suggest a custom built Ypsilon G1 driver using a “G” style cup from Elleven Acoustica or contact someone that does custom builds that can build cups using whatever wood you like. IMO for jazz and pop from the 70’s these are hard to beat along with being light and comfortable since you can use “G” pads which are much more comfortable and either the “S” or “L” and unlike most other headphones they are cheap and easy to replace. It should cost under your $500 budget unless you are looking for very exotic wood.

I’ve also owned the Ananda, Sundara and HD600 but have sold them off since they were getting no use. Another that I’d consider is a used HD700 since you have a tube amp which I consider a must for the HD700 and since many hate them they can be found quite cheap these days but they have great sound stage/imaging, decent mids and clean/clear highs on a tube amp.

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PC > USB > DAC > SparkoS Aries > Final D8000

Need a DAC for this chain.


Bifrost 2? Qutest?

Bifrost 2 and Qutest are definitely solid contenders; I’d add the Matrix X-Sabre Pro (MQA) to the list of units you’re considering (I think there’s one listed used on here right now) as well as the Soekris dac2541 and maybe a used Spring or Spring 2 DAC.

Mentioning used for some models to keep the prices closer to the Qutest.


You want a high impedance headphone for that amp…HD6xx, the ETA Genesis G over on SBAF are 2 that aren’t 2 expensive… maybe a used HD800(s)

Depends on what kind of files you are playing.

If you only play PCM files, then Bifrost 2 is great. But if you have a large library of DSD or MQA files, then something like an SMSL M400 would be most appropriate.

As @Torq mentioned, the Matrix X-Sabre Pro MQA is a great dac. I’ve owned the Bifrost 2 and they’re both great dac’s, never owned the Qutest. The Matrix remote is much more functional than the Bifrost, has a preamp built in and filters plus great support for being over seas. The Bifrost is the best budget of the three at 700 if you can get it or wait a couple months. Qutest is 1700 and unfortunately, i know little too nothing about it. The Matrix is 2300, black, small, little bigger than the Bifrost and heavy, well built. I’m the owner of the Matrix for sale and I’ll beat that 1700 Qutest price to help with the budget. I picked up an open box Element X from, so i saved a few bucks and really like their products. I don’t think you can go wrong with any three of the choices.


Thanks. Bifrost is around 1000 AUD. Qutest, used, around 1600-1800 AUD. Matrix isn’t as common, in the 2000s used.

The Aries is very nuetral. I’m thinking, won’t know until I hear, some sort of less neutral type DAC would suit. Hence the lean toward maybe the Bifrost/Qutest or even Ares II type DACs. Audio GD even.

Just streaming non-MQA pretty much 100%.

Buying a used Qutest for a run. See how I like it ! Will report back when Aries arrives.


I am looking to spend 30000 ₹₹ or 400 ish US$$.
I have been searching quite a lot and have seemed to like the Sony WH-1000XM4. What caught my eye is the fact that this post₹-30000/ mentions that Sony WH-1000XM3 are litreally just as good too. Well i am unsure so came searching on a forum from fellow netizens on who might have deeper knowledge and maybe even have experience both.
Basically Sony WH 1000XM4 tick all the boxes for me, but if there is not much difference i can save 10000 ₹ or 150 $ i surely am okay with the previous generation of headphones.


Welcome to the forum.

I own the old WH-1000XM2 and it’s “fine” for its intended use. I haven’t bothered to upgrade for several years because all wireless and all closed headphones have performance limitations. If you plan to listen in noisy environments then you may not hear much difference at all. I sometimes use the Sony software equalizer to change the tone (the XM2 is pretty bass-heavy by default). If you intend to listen critically in quiet locations then a wired open headphone may be a better choice.


Thank you for your input.
Well for my usage which involves use of wireless/ bluetooth and secondly ANC is must. not that i am in too much noisy environment but the i would like the option anyway.


Have you only looked at over-ear, or have you also considered the true wireless IEM-style earphones, such as offerings from Apple and Samsung?

I am comfortable with over-ear only.